Skip navigation

Indymedia UK is a network of individuals, independent and alternative media activists and organisations, offering grassroots, non-corporate, non-commercial coverage of important social and political issues

The Independent: Iraq death rate belies US claims of success

transmitter | 07.01.2008 14:03 | Iraq | Birmingham

The Independent today published an article by Kim Sengupta about a new report by Iraq Body Count (IBC), which concluded that the death rate in Iraq in the past 12 months has been the second highest in any year since the invasion, which contradicts American claims that the "troop surge" has "dramatically reduced" the level of violence across the country.

IBC, which compiles its data from official (primarily Western) sources, including the Pentagon, found that between 22,586 and 24,159 civilian deaths were documented for 2007, with the vast majority of those killed between January and August.

The number of civilians killed during US operations in the past 12 months also rose, from between 544 and 623 in 2006 to between 868 and 1,326 in 2007. According to the IBC report, that most of these casualties were linked to air strikes, in which 88 children were reported to have died.

Of course, the Independent (or any other Western corporate/mainstream media outlet, for that matter) wouldn't mention that IRC explicitly states their numbers are always "an underestimate" for reasons to do with "gaps in reporting or recording". But, as a recent MediaLens 'alert' put it, "this humility is not consistently expressed". In fact, IRC has often been used by the media and government to undermine the credibility of more worrying estimates, such as the famous Lancet report.